Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Charming (Pax Arcana #1) Review

Charming (Pax Arcana #1)
Elliott James

Publisher: Orbit

E-Arc Courtesy of Netgalley & Orbit

John Charming isn't your average Prince... 
He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?

The first in a new Urban Fantasy series is usually a delicate balancing act of introducing new characters, world building especially how their world varies from ours and plot and while the story might lack a little, the characters and the world-building are great foundations for a series. It just feels like a little bit more mixing is needed but for the first in a series, this is a good effort and I will definitely be continuing with this series!

Charming has some interesting characters with a mix of powers and abilities although some characters are better developed than others; I liked Sig and her Valkyrie powers – she doesn’t just fall for John’s charms, but struggles with her current relationship and fitting John into her group. In many other books Sig would have been the main character but John Charming takes the lead. John has been on the run for a long time and has a very mixed heritage which makes him unique. When he runs into Sig and starts meeting the rest of her team, you really feel this is the first time he has interacted with anyone on a more than superficial level for a long time.

The world of magic and supernatural creatures is hidden from ours through old fae magic called the Pax Arcana and there are plenty of asides that give you the impression of a wider world still to be explored. So the weak link is really the plot. The search for the new vampire who may pose a drastic threat to humanity in the future is simply lacking any momentum. There is very little time spent building the vampire as a credible threat now or any personality for her which would add tension to the hunt. As such when the big finale arrived it was underwhelming and lacked any emotional resonance.

There is potential for an intriguing world and an expanded universe with so many possibilities so I will give the series a chance and see if the next book allows all the elements to work together.

Recommended for fans of Benedict Jacka and MLN Hanover. 7 out of 10


  1. Ooh this sounds like something I'd like! I haven't read many paranormal/supernatural books lately as they all started to get a bit repetitive and same-y but this one sounds like something a little different. Will be adding this to my wishlist - great review!

    Laura @ What's Hot?

  2. And I will wait and see what you think of book 2 when that one comes out

  3. Seems like this is getting mostly lukewarm receptions and it all seems that it has a lot of potential. I might wait for the next book to come out to see if it improves. Great review!

  4. well I wasn't really for me but I'll see how book 2 is.

  5. I think I might want this one. I was waiting to see what the thoughts were on it. But to see you think fans of Hanover would enjoy, sounds great. I like the sounds of it. Thank you.